• Equates perpetrators of May 9, 10 violence with terrorists, vows not to allow such acts to be repeated
• Centre, KP team up to track down PTI leaders who incited people to violence
PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday took stock of the law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as he vowed that those who attacked civil and defence installations on May 9 would be tried under anti-terror laws.
In separate meetings with the governor and other senior provincial officials, the prime minister was briefed on militancy and the overall law and order situation in the province, including militant attacks targeting police and law enforcement agencies in recent weeks.
The prime minister was also briefed about the KP police force’s response, sources said. However, when asked whether the huddles had finalised any plans for future action, the official said that nothing of the sort was discussed in the meeting with the PM.
In his meeting with Governor Ghulam Ali, PM Shehbaz was apprised of the overall situation in KP, including the tribal districts and the province’s finances.
According to the APP news agency, while chairing a high-level meeting at Governor House, PM Shehbaz said the nation would not forgive them if those who attacked civil and defence installations on May 9 and 10 escaped justice. The prime minister also added that those involved in the rioting and its planners would be tried under relevant sections of the anti-terrorism act.
Speaking at the occasion, the PM said this important meeting was scheduled to be held soon after May 9, but was delayed due to some unavoidable engagements. However, he said he held a Zoom meeting with the provincial governor and chief minister, who updated him on the damages and losses inflicted by the rioters.
The prime minister regretted that these elements, who claimed to be pro-Pakistan, were in fact involved in vandalism and had caused the kind of damage that even the country’s enemies could not inflict in its 75-year history.
However, the prime minister stressed that no injustice should be done with any innocent person during this process.
Action against PTI leadership
Meanwhile, the federal and KP governments also decided to accelerate ongoing efforts to bring the PTI’s top tier leadership to justice for their role in ‘provoking’ the general public to violence on May 9.
“Information sharing is what was focused upon since the top tier of PTI’s KP chapter is in hiding,” caretaker minister for information Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel told Dawn. He added that in the meeting chaired by PM Shehbaz, it was decided not to let anyone go.
Mr Kakakhel said the government had traced calls where the top provincial PTI leadership was allegedly found involved in provoking protesters to reach the KP Governor House, adding that all those who attacked military installations directly across the province would be tried in military courts, whereas those who damaged civilian installations would be tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. However, he did not reveal which leaders of the PTI were found to be involved in such incitement.
He said the provincial government had already shared video footage and pictures of those allegedly involved in violent protests with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), adding that action would be taken as soon as the data was received by the provincial government.
Visit to Radio Pakistan
The prime minister also visited the Radio Pakistan building, which was badly damaged during riots on May 10.
During his visit, he said it was unfortunate that the building where Pakistan’s independence announcement was broadcast, had also ransacked and set on fire by rioters.
Speaking at an event to express solidarity with Radio Pakistan employees, he said the events of May 10 exposed the barbaric mindset of the attackers, who had no regard for humanity and national heritage.
A statement issued by the information department on Thursday said that apart from the building, protesters destroyed the decades-old archive of the Radio Pakistan in Peshawar.
According to the statement, the prime minister directed information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb to immediately make efforts to restore the Radio Pakistan premises and provide all required resources necessary for its rehabilitation.
There is no difference between the rioters of May 9-10 and the terrorists, the prime minister said, adding that his government would ensure that such deplorable incidents are never repeated again.
Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2023
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